Quick uptake of electronic medical
records in Nova Scotia
HALIFAX – One year after being launched, the program to computerize Nova
Scotia’s physician practices has won over 27% of the province’s primary
To date, there are 521 users in 60 clinics who are registered for the
Primary Healthcare Information Management (PHIM) program and are
preparing to implement the electronic patient record.
“It’s a lot of work in the first months getting set up, but it’s worth
it,” said Dr. David Martell, a physician at the Lunenburg Medical
Centre. “With electronic records, I am able to get accurate details on
my patients’ health status; medication lists are accurate and legible.
The automated-recall features allow me to proactively take care of my
patients’ health maintenance needs. I would never go back to paper
The program has been fueled by $4 million from Health Canada’s Primary
Health Care Transition Fund. The project is being implemented in clinics
across the province by teams from district health authorities with
support from Nightingale Informatix, of Markham, Ont., along with
Halifax-based Dymaxion Research Limited and Concertia Technologies Inc.
With this web-based electronic patient record, all patient health
information is stored at the Department of Health’s data centre, which
is also used to store patient information for the majority of hospitals
in Nova Scotia. Patient information is protected, and access is only
given to providers who have a registered login and security code.
pleased to be part of such a pioneering and successful project in Nova
Scotia,” said Sam Chebib (pictured), President
and CEO of Nightingale.
“The dedication and hard work of the Department of Health, Regional
Health Authorities and the Nightingale team, as well as the physicians
and their support staff, has been crucial to the success of the
initiative,” said Chebib. “The program has seen adoption rates reach 27%
in the first year. Our commitment to helping the physicians of Nova
Scotia further enhance patient care remains our top priority. Nova
Scotia is a great example for all of Canada.”
Health Minister Chris d’Entremont said the system will improve the way
patient information is stored, used, and disclosed by Nova Scotia
“This system will improve the quality and safety of patient care and
allow providers and patients to make safer, faster, and better treatment
decisions,” said Mr. d’Entremont. “We’re allowing doctors to spend more
time with their patients, and are providing Nova Scotians with
healthcare service as close to home as possible.”
Through its Primary Health Care Information Management program, the
Department of Health is working with district health authorities to
implement the first province-wide electronic patient record system to
improve quality of care and access to treatment for Nova Scotians.
With this system, clinic charts will be stored electronically, instead
of on paper. Electronic patient records minimize errors, efficiently
generate referral letters, complete forms much quicker, and easily bill
and code diagnoses.
Connecting primary health-care settings with hospital information
systems allows care providers to access lab, diagnostic imaging, and
other patient information quickly and accurately.
An EResults system – which links to lab and diagnostic imaging records
in the provincial health information system to the Electronic Medical
Record – is currently being piloted at six clinics.
“This is great news for the patients and physicians in our district. It
will certainly enhance patient care by giving physicians quicker access
to information for decision-making,” said South Shore Health CEO Kevin